When you’re searching for the fastest and easiest home décor project, most people would steer you toward a simple pillow. We don’t disagree, but when it comes to instant gratification, close on the pillow’s heels is the pillowcase! They take a bit more fabric than a standard pillow cover, but a crisp, new pillowcase immediately brightens up your bed linens. It’s quick and fun to make special pillowcases for all kinds of special occasions. We’ve altered the traditional fold-and-stitch construction method with today’s version: a reversible case. By stitching just one extra seam, you get twice the pretty possibilities.
We originally used fabric from the SoHo Bandana collection by Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction, which is no longer readily available, but any pair of standard quilting cottons would work beautifully,
If you haven’t checked lately, store bought pillowcases are expensive! And it seems to take only a few washings before they start falling apart at the seams. When you make them yourself, they’re more beautiful and better quality. Freshen up the beds throughout your own home, then consider the gift-giving potential for wedding showers, housewarmings, and more.
Plus, you can add special touches that make your custom cases extra unique. In addition to making ours reversible, we added solid accent bands edged in rick rack.
Each pillowcases finishes at approximately 30″ x 20″, which fits a standard size bed pillow.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Supplies listed are for ONE pillowcase.
- ¾ – 1 yard EACH of TWO coordinating 44″+ wide cotton print fabrics
NOTE: The yardage is given as a range because it will depend on the direction of your motif. If your motif runs horizontally or is non-directional, you should be able to easily get away with ¾ yard. If you motif runs vertically, ¾ will be just enough (27″), so you probably want to bump up to a yard to ensure you can get a nice cut.
- ⅓ yard of of 44″+ wide coordinating solid fabric for the pillowcase trim
NOTE: The cut is 9″ wide so you could get away with ¼ yard, but your cuts would have to be exact; you’ll be safe at ⅓ yard.
- ONE package (you need 42″ per pillowcase) of coordinating jumbo rick rack
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- From EACH of the TWO fabrics for the body of the pillowcase cut ONE 21″ high x 27″ wide rectangle.
NOTE: If you are using a directional print, your design should run horizontally along the 27″ width.
- From the solid fabric for the pillowcase trim, cut ONE 9″ high x 41″ wide piece.
- Cut the rick rack in half into two 21″ lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Attaching the trim and creating the pillowcase body
- Press the two 21″ x 27″ main fabric panels so they are nice and flat.
- Place the two panels right side up on your work surface.
- Find the two lengths of rick rack.
- A bit over half of the rick rack is designed to show from the seam between the trim and pillowcase body. This means you have to pay attention to where you position it. The top “wave” of the trim should sit ⅛” in from the raw edge of the fabric panel.
- Pin the trim in place on the right side of both panels.
- Using a machine basting stitch, stitch each length of rick rack in place, staying just within (eg. to the right of) the ½” seam allowance.
- Place the two pillowcase body pieces (with the rick rack basted in place) right sides together.
- Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
- Stitch both sides and across the bottom, using a ½” seam allowance. Remember to pivot at the corners.
- Zig zag, overcast or serge the raw edges of all the seam allowances so when the pillowcase is help prevent fraying during laundering. We used an overcast stitch with an Overedge foot.
NOTE: For more information on machine sewn finishes, check out our four-part tutorial series.
- Clip the bottom corners and turn the pillowcase right side out. Push out the trimmed corners from the inside to make nice, square corners on the outside. Use your finger or a blunt end tool, like a large knitting needle, chopstick or point turner. Press well. Your pillowcase body should now measure 26½” x 20″.
- Find the 9″ x 41″ trim panel.
- Fold it in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 4½” x 41″. Press well to set a strong center crease.
- Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible and fold back ONE long raw edge ½”. This will become the finished edge on the inside of the pillowcase. Press well, again to set a strong crease.
- Open up the trim panel all the way, so it is again 9″ and both crease lines are visible.
- Place the two 9″ ends right sides together, forming a circle.
- Pin in place securely along the ½” seam allowance line, then test to see if this ‘trim circle’ fits the pillowcase body by slipping the trim circle over the open end of the pillowcase. The open edge of the pillowcase body and the trim circle need to be a perfect match. If the trim circle seems a bit too big or too small, adjust your seam allowance accordingly.
- Using the appropriate seam allowance you tested above, stitch along the 9″ raw edge. Press the seam allowance open.
- Re-fold the ½” fold. Re-press in place.
- Slip the trim circle over the open end of your pillowcase body, right sides together, matching raw edges and aligning the trim circle’s seam with one of the pillowcase body’s side seams. You are matching the raw edge of the pillowcase opening with the raw edge of your trim piece, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. Pin all around.
- Stitch all around the pillowcase opening, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Press the seam up towards the pillowcase trim, keeping the rick rack facing down against the body of the pillowcase.
- Re-fold the trim along the original center crease line and bring the bottom folded edge of the trim around to the inside of the pillowcase.This folded edge should neatly overlap the inside pillowcase/trim seam. Pin the folded edge in place all around.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the trim panel in the top and bobbin.
- With the pillowcase right side out, edgestitch along the trim/body seam. The edgestitching should be approximately ⅛” from the original seam and within the trim panel. This will secure the self-facing on the inside and all raw edges will be concealed.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild